Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Democratic Generation

According to a NYT article, the GOP risks losing a generation of voters to the Democrats. Currently, Democrats have a ten point advantage over Republicans in party identification (38% to 28%), a gap that significantly increased since the re-election of former Pres. Bush. If Obama, like Reagan, solidifies his support within the under 30 age-group, to which he already has a 14% point advantage, then Democrats will see strong electoral majorities for quite some time, theoretically speaking.

(h/t Atrios)


CWPNRG? said...

Mmm... I disagree. I saw a graph the other day (that I will never be able to find again, you'll just have to take my word for it) that showed the political leanings of college students remaining basically stable over the last 40-50 years or so. I think there's good truth in Churchill's maxim about people tending to migrate toward conservatism as they get older.
BTW, I'm going to use my acronym from now on, hope that's acceptable.

CWPNRG? said...

Now if you're talking about party identification, that has definitely gyrated and will continue to gyrate. However, conservatism vs. liberalism has remained constant. Reagan Democrats seem to be the best example of this, and maybe now, Obama Republicans.

Drew said...


Very acceptable, makes it much easier to type.

The article was talking about party identification if that helps, to your second comment. And, if you find that graph, please post a link to it in a thread, and I will post on it. Although I am a Democrat, I want to be fair and provide all points of view.


Darren Staley said...


The political leanings of college students has generally remained constant, so I can vouch for your graph.

What also remains constant is their tendency to not vote. A large majority of college students lean Democratic. That is the constant.

In other words, the Democrats need college voters to become more active.

On your last point, people do tend to become more conservative as they age. However, the party they vote for in college is generallt the party they vote for throughout life.

So, their movement to the right reflects where the left was when they first voted.

Bill Clinton got moved to the center because a huge bloc of his electorate had LBJ on their minds. They wanted a progressive who would not move so boldly as to lead to another Nixon.

In retrospect, we know see where that gets Democrats. Once the left gets close to the center, right of center doesn't seem so bad.

My point is, if Obama moves three steps to the left, his base, as they age, will still move closer to the center than to the right.

One final thought. Let's call a huge chunk or Reagan Democrats what they were, DixieCrats.